Ian Calender (Belfast Telgraph)
THE North West Warriors lost five wickets for 20 runs in the last 10 overs to hand the initiative to the Northern Knights going into the second day of their Inter-provincial Championship game at Comber.
Gary Kidd took two wickets in two balls after starting the collapse with the wicket of the Warriors’ opening batsman Ross Allen and Jacob Mulder, then added two more victims to turn an average day’s bowling into a successful one.
At 188 for four, the Warriors were on top after Andy McBrine had no hesitation in batting first when he won the toss.
But when Allen’s 179-ball vigil was ended by Kidd, via the edge to slip, the new batsmen just could not deal with the turning ball.
A loose shot by McBrine, straight to backward point, brought Andrew Austin to the middle but the Bready batsman’s horror run in the competition continued when he played on first ball.
Johnny Thompson had defended stoutly for 17 balls but he then cut Mulder to point for a couple and next ball forgot to put his bat in front of his pad and was out leg before.
Steve Lazars couldn’t survive the last over and gave Chris Dougherty his second catch at slip to leave the Knights with just one more wicket to take on day 2 before they can start batting.
The Warriors had actually negotiated the toughest part of the day — with no fewer than five interruptions — but the only batsman who failed to kick on after a break was Stuart Thompson, who was caught behind for 46 to the first ball after tea.
David Rankin was caught in the gully in the next over but when Allen and McBrine put on 37 for the fifth wicket, the Warriors seemed as if they were back on course.
The three Knights pace bowlers sent down 43 overs but they didn’t force the batsmen to play at enough balls, with Nathan Smith again failing to build on his five-wicket haul for the Ireland Wolves last week. Too many big games in a short space of time is obviously a factor — this was Smith’s fifth day of cricket in the last seven, including a Cup final in the middle.
Meanwhile, the first of the Ulster Plate semi-finals postponed at the weekend will take place this Sunday, with CIYMS II hosting Donemana II.
Laurelvale II are the first team into the Minor (Lindsay) Cup after an eight-wicket victory over Cliftonville II. The other semi-final, between North Down III and Muckamore IV, postponed because of the Challenge Cup decider, takes place on Sunday.
In the only Minor Qualifying Cup semi-final played so far, Donaghcloney Mill II defeated Lisburn IV by 60 runs